What the world really needed more of is Minecraft. After all, with 126 million people playing it, there was certainly room for some expansion. That’s what Microsoft must have thought anyway, so hence we now have Minecraft Dungeons. You’ve probably already heard about it, and may have already dismissed it as a cheap cash grab. But is it? Are you better off simply giving it a miss and sticking to the guaranteed good fun a mobile casino has to offer instead? Let’s take a look.
First and foremost, the biggest and most obvious question first; did this need to be a Minecraft game? The enormous, glaring answer to that question is no, it certainly didn’t. Minecraft Dungeons is essentially an unabashed Diablo clone, using only the aesthetic of Minecraft and nothing else. This in itself is pretty nutty, given that there are literally dozens of Diablo clones already on the market, making it a rather cluttered playground to be taking a stab at. The only real draw card is the cross-platform multiplayer capabilities, which are pretty neat. Other than that, it is more or less exactly what you would expect it to be.
Presentation And Gameplay
Most assumed that, given the enormous resources and wealth Microsoft are in possession of, that they would at least transform a Diablo clone into something truly extraordinary in terms of gameplay, or at least in terms of presentation. Sadly, they didn’t really do either.
In terms of gameplay, Minecraft Dungeons functions in the most by the numbers fashion possible. Left click slashes, right click shoots an arrow. Enemies attack in their droves, you cut them down. Rinse and repeat. There is loot, of course, and there is levelling up. The loot has higher numbers than the loot that came before it, and the levels are higher numbers than the ones below. No, there is no crafting, and no, there is no building.
In terms of presentation, yes, the iconic Minecraft visuals have been utilised and are transplanted over with extreme accuracy. But, are they appealing? Perhaps only in a sort of retro way. Minecraft was never really about the visuals, so it makes little sense to try and use these visuals in a game that would essentially benefit from better graphics. It is a bit of a head scratcher that no effort was made to even try and step the aesthetics up, in any regard. Basically you can imagine what Diablo would look like if all the textures and geometry were stripped away, and you have a good idea.
Multiplayer And Conclusion
The one aspect of the game that is pretty neat is the cross platform multiplayer. The style of gameplay begs to be enjoyed by groups of friends, and in a world that is divided up into specific platforms, that sure can be a pain. Minecraft Dungeons is one of few titles that allows Xbox, PlayStation and PC gamers to all get together under one umbrella, and that really is refreshing in an increasingly exclusive centric market. So in that regard the game gets a big old thumbs up.
But this bit of pleasantness can’t save Minecraft Dungeons from being a rather bland and by the numbers experience. There is fun to be had, but not any sort of fun than can’t be found elsewhere, and, frankly, in better Diablo clones. It can be argued that the game is intended as being a family friendly version of Diablo, and that is a fair enough angle to take. But it sure would have been nice if something, anything, had been done to make this a game that stood apart.
In conclusion; Microsoft have continued their trend of putting out rather mediocre titles that do little to stand apart. Gears 5 was equally as middle of the road, doing nothing new or innovative. If anything, this latest release by the software giant is proof that something really needs to be shook up in their games department, in a big way. Sony have consistently trounced Microsoft in the console war, and it really doesn’t seem like they have even any idea of how to fight back. But that really is just speculation, with the new generation still on the horizon.